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Main research question/goal
Calf mortality can result in considerable economic loss. Because the cause of most calf losses remains unknown, the farmer cannot take targeted action to prevent calf mortality. As a consequence, mortality remains (too) high. Calf morbidity is also associated with high veterinary bills. Investigating the causes of calf mortality can help to remediate this problem.

Research approach
The causes of mortality are mapped using a multidisciplinary approach: breeding and genetics as well as nutrition and management. Several partners work together to realize this goal. Approximately 25 farms that have an accountancy and at least 40 Belgian Blue double-muscled cows participate in the project.  Dead calves are autopsied. Faeces and/or blood from dying calves will be investigated to find the reason for their illness. In case of death, the genetics of the calf and nutrition and management of cow and calf are verified.

The first result is to inform the collaborating farmers what caused the calf loss on their farm. The beef cattle industry as a whole also benefits from this information. The dissemination of results occurs through visits to the participating farmers, information sessions for the participating farmers, meetings for all interested beef farmers and reports in the agricultural press. The participating farmers and other interested parties receive a regularly-published electronic newsletter.

External partner(s)
ABS - Algemeen Boerensyndicaat
DGZ - Dierengezondheidszorg Vlaanderen
Ugent - Fac. Diergeneeskunde
Effective start/end date1/04/1031/03/12
  • Fiems, Leonel, (Former Researcher)

ID: 4148282